Collaborate With Others


Working together and receiving assistance

Working together on assignments and projects is often encouraged by faculty. Group project work is common in most faculties, especially in  Science and Engineering. This form of collaboration gives students the experience of working on a team and sharing ideas and strategies.

However, collaboration must be explicitly permitted by the course instructor or your supervisor, and only to the extent they specify. If you have not been given permission to work with others you must not assume it is allowed, and you need to ask your supervisor or the course instructor whether collaboration is appropriate or not.

Working with others or receiving assistance when it has not been permitted is inappropriate collaboration (PDF) and will result in academic sanctions and penalties according to Policy 71 – Student Discipline.

Collaboration video

Video slides and transcript (PDF)

Intellectual property and patents

Intellectual property

Intellectual property is defined as any form of knowledge or expression created partly or wholly with one's intellect and which can be legally protected. - Canadian Association of Graduate Students (CAGS)

The act of creation consists of producing:

  • an invention,
  • a piece of writing,
  • a painting,
  • a design,
  • a piece of music

The Canadian Association of Graduate Studies (CAGS) has provided a guide to intellectual property for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars (PDF).

Waterloo Policy 73 - Intellectual Property Rights states that all contributors to scholarly works should receive appropriate recognition for their contributions. If you have created or produced something with the assistance or participation of someone else, you must credit that person's contribution.


Patents can be applied to any product of the human intellect that is unique, novel and unobvious to a person skilled in the field of invention. - Canadian Association of Graduate Students (CAGS)

Status as an inventor, the person with the original idea or whose contribution is a key stage in the invention, is different than just being named as the author, as it can entitle one to the proceeds that are generated from the invention. Not only is one's status as a scholar important, but professional reputation and finances may also be affected by being named on a patent. Therefore, it is very important that care is taken when deciding who to name as inventor.

Next: Act with honesty

Academic integrity guide for graduate students

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